Beyond Peasants and Proletariats: Black Religions and the Social Sciences in the 20th Century



This course will introduce students to the leading "schools" of social scientific thought throughout the first half of the twentieth century in regards to religion, race and ethnicity. Major topics to be addressed include anthropological and sociological approaches that led to Africanisms, cultural relativism and particularism on the one hand, versus universalism, acculturation, and assimilation on the other. Beyond evaluating the works of leading proponents of aforementioned approaches, students will also engage social context, political motivations, and economic influences that animated the early growth of the social sciences in general, and work on religion and race more specifically. Readings will include Nathaniel Shaler, W.E.B. Du Bois, Franz Boas, Zora Neale Hurston, Newbell Niles Puckett, Robert Park, Hortense Powdermaker, Benjamin Elijah Mays

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